Status, Violence, and Your Thoughts

According to the spreadsheet, L’homme Theroux is 53% finished, but having completed the first draft of Chapter 16, it feels like I am two-thirds of the way done telling the story.  I suppose that is not so bad, as there will be fleshing out of characters during the revision process.  The word count target I chose was somewhat arbitrary to begin with.  However, as I have mentioned in previous posts regarding writing discipline and goal setting, having a target helps me greatly in pacing my efforts and lifting my spirits when I am banging my head against my miserable excuse for a desk.

The more I write, the more I grow concerned about the level of violence in this book.  I have spent much of my professional career in war zones and in circumstances with people all too willing to commit violent acts upon me and those around them, so I am not a stranger.  I guess the old writer’s advice of “write what you know” applies to this first book in the series.  Based on what I have outlined for the rest, they will not be much better.

Some serious misgivings have cropped up in my mind as to whether the blood and guts will be appropriate for a Young Adult audience.  By Young Adult, I mean about fourteen or fifteen to whatever is the upper limit.  According to the current healthcare law allowing a “dependent child” to be up to twenty-six years old, “young adult” might not end until what we used to consider middle age.

I am considering a post exploring the topic, but my thoughts and feelings are such that I am currently unable to reach an opinion.  So, I will take a chance and put it to my dozens of followers in social media.  Hey, twenty-four is exactly two dozen, so I am technically correct to say “dozens.”

Lots of people die, some are permanently maimed in varying degrees, there is some torture, and a rather vivid description of scalping that I might have to pare back, lest it be used as a how-to manual.  Of course, I would not put these events in the novel unless I felt they developed a character, advanced the story, or were a fair representation of the viciousness and brutality of frontier life in the mid-19th century.

Then again, I have already admitted to being largely desensitized to horrible acts of violence.  And if you doubt the atrocious nature of all participants’ conduct of wars in North America, I would suggest you begin with an account of the Pequot War and continue from there, if you have the stomach for it.

I know many of you folks out there are writers, and some of you may even publish in the YA market.  Even if you do not, I am sure you have an opinion on the subject.  I would like to know that opinion, so I can consider it in forming mine.  Leave a comment, send an e-mail, a twit (or a tweet, if you prefer), or tell me on my Facebook profile or page (I have both), and convince me one way or the other.  All the ways to contact me are at the top of the page.

Tell me, my writerly peers…How much death, violence, and mayhem is too much for the YA audience?


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